Fearing the NaNoWriMo Slump

Posted in Writer Life by

10.31.14 / nanowrimo work
I’ve been working my butt off to prepare for NaNoWriMo over the past week or so, and there’s been so much enthusiasm just glowing from me. I’m determined to put my all into this year and come out with something completed. There are notes scattered about, on my phone, in a notebook, on slips of paper from work, and my mind is always whirring with ways to combine everything, thoughts on how this story is going to play out. And then, sometime last week, I remembered the slump.

I remembered the way I start each year with enthusiasm and determination, a lot like this, only to give up a few weeks within the challenge. I’ve had one successful attempt at NaNoWriMo, in the sense that I reached 50,000 words. However, even then I didn’t do anything with what I came up with. I don’t even remember what story that was, which file in my Dropbox it is. Nothing I’ve ever worked on during NaNoWriMo has amounted to much else after November 30.

The fear that I’m going to fail again this year, fail when all I want to do is write and finish and publish one way or another, is near paralyzing. It’s terrifying to sit down and write when I think, maybe, it’s all for naught. The temptation to quit before I’m behind kicks in, and it becomes a struggle with myself to keep going at all, when experience and the nagging voice in my head tell me I couldn’t do it then, so why should I be able to now?

(And then a littler voice, deep inside, says, “Because this is now. You’ve grown and you’re ready and you can do it if you really want to.”)

And I know who I should listen to, but can we all agree that it’s damn hard not to believe he negative voices within yourself? Damn hard.

I want to physically wrap myself in the excitement and enjoyment of throwing myself into this without the worry of failure. I want to feel that warm comfort of contentedness and confidence as I write and type and create this story that I can only hope even a dozen people would ever want to read (and, better yet, enjoy). I don’t want to let go of this fire inside of me.

But I know this is all part of the game. This is all to be expected in something┬álike this, something as volatile and unpredictable as writing. When something like this–something creative, vulnerable, unstable–is your life’s goal, there’s no escaping the ups and downs of confidence and success. It’s about making it through and making something out of it, in spite of it, right?

November 5, 2014
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  • Combating the inner voice of self doubt is one of the hardest things a person can do, I feel. It’s amazing how crushing one’s own psyche can be. I hope you kick the inner voice to the curb, and rock NaNoWriMo for yourself!

  • Pingback: The To-Do List: November 2014 | Sonya Cheney()

  • Tell the negative voices to shove it. No, but seriously, it really is hard to ignore those voices, but not impossible. If you end up facing a slump, remind yourself why you’re doing NaNo in the first place. I think you’re going to kick that word goal’s butt.

    • Sonya

      Ah, thanks. I’ve just about said, “Screw it” in terms of any quality, which is one of my bigger struggles, so the word count should be a cinch now.

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